According to Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, meeting online is the most popular way for couples in the U.S. to connect. As time goes by, the stigma of meeting potential suitors online continues to wear off. But after the algorithm plays matchmaker, you have to meet your online date in person – which like any other first date, can be a little awkward. Here are seven tips on making your first in-person encounter fun and easy.
1. Start with Something Relaxing
The success of your first date hinges on how smooth the conversation flows. So, both of you need to be relaxed. What you choose to do for the date also matters. The good thing with online dating is that you already know something about the other person. One of the simplest yet most effective first date ideas is going out for dinner. You can choose an intimate restaurant with a romantic backdrop. To spice things up, you can try one of the dessert drinks we love: the Espresso Martini. A cocktail or two would be a good way to relax the nerves; that way, you can open up more without awkwardness.
2. Meet at the Venue
While online dating is easy and fun, you cannot ignore the risks that come with it. Although you’ve been messaging with your date back and forth for hours on end, you still don’t know them. At least not well in enough to get in their car. So even if they offer to pick you up, the best thing to do is politely decline. Instead, meet them at the location. Besides, you never know what might happen. They could get too drunk to drive you back home, or an emergency could arise, and they have to leave early. So, always have your travel arrangements.
3. Set Boundaries Beforehand
Understandably, first dates can be quite unsettling, especially since this is someone you’ve never met before, and you have no idea how they will react on the date. To seize control of the moment, ensure that you discuss your boundaries ahead of the meeting. Don’t throw hints – speak your truth without fear of rejection. If the venue is making you uneasy, then speak up. Are you comfortable with taking and posting pictures of you two together? While at it, you can also ask them what their boundaries are.
4. Keep an Open Mind
As William Shakespeare said, “expectation is the root of all heartache”. This saying is especially true when meeting your online date in person for the first time. You have probably painted a picture of what they are like in person or how the date will turn out. And chances are, they’ve done the same too. But how about you push the expectations aside and let things take their natural cause.
Things might not go as expected, probably because you are a little nervous, but that’s perfectly okay. Also, remember that sometimes, you might not hit it off immediately. So if the first date doesn’t go too well, don’t be quick to rule that person out. You might need some more time to adjust.
5. Tread Lightly
Having interacted with this person online might make you think it’s time to peel the layers and discuss deep topics. But no, it’s still a first date, and the rules apply – you should keep the conversation light. That means steering off topics close to the heart, such as politics, past relationships, and religion. While these things are fundamental for every relationship, you can always discuss them later.
6. Make a Good First Impression
You only get one chance to make a good in-person first impression, so make it count. Plan your outfit depending on what you are doing on the date. Besides your outfit, ensure that your hair also makes a strong impression. Most importantly, pick a good scent, but keep it subtle.
7. Be Authentic
There is always the pressure of presenting the best version of you. And the best version of you is your authentic self. If you misrepresent yourself, you will have to keep up with your act. And once your date becomes wiser, you might lose them.
Meeting your online date in person for the first time doesn’t have to be a nightmare. But it calls for some preparation. Most importantly, you have to look out for your safety by taking measures like sharing your location with someone you trust.